Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by jrv1964
- Sail Date: April 2016
- Destination: South Pacific
The Experience - less than memorable - we did not like the ship
Hi, fellow cruisers, I have done 7 cruises over the past 5 years across 3 cruise lines.
This was my third experience on Royal Carribbean having clocked up 30 nights in cruising with them, just made Platinum Level.
Explorer of the Seas was the biggest cruise ship I have sailed on, all my other cruises have been on mid size ships holding between 2000 and 2600 passengers.
On this particular cruise there was 3600 passengers plus 1200 crew, like taking a large country town with you.
Although most times, the ship did not feel particularly crowded, there were times such as at fine dining, the Palace Theatre and Ice Skating show where we felt squashed in.
Overall we found the ship to be too big and crowded and found our experiences on smaller ships to be better.
One thing that was a downer for us was the fact the ship onboard currency is in U.S dollars and when we converted Australian Dollars to U.S dollars we got a very poor exchange rate of 66 u.s cents for every Australian dollar, which made the things on board the ship very expensive.
We had to restrict our spending and stay out of the casino.
Alcoholic drinks were expensive with an 18% tip added on, a $12 U.S cocktail when tip added and converted over to Australian dollars, made the actual cost $19 AUD, very expensive.
We talked to other passengers, they had pulled there purse strings in too, the unfavourable exchange rate from AUD to USD on these American ships makes them a lot dearer than other cruise lines, also the cost of there shore tours in USD by the way were the most expensive we ever encountered on the high seas, for example to book a tour of Rotorua in New Zealand to look at the geysers, thermal springs and bubbling mud pools cost $249 U.S dollars, so for a couple you were looking at $500 U.S dollars or about $750 Australian, outrageous for a single shore tour.
We talked to a few fellow cruisers and found they had organised private land tours off the ship as the ships prices were not in "the realm of reality"
Royal Carribbean needs to re-evaluate the cost they charge for shore tours, they are charging up to 4 times what they pay private operators for each passenger, this is price gouging and profiteering at its worst, its a rip off.
We had also organised private land tours as well prior to our cruise online over the internet, prepaid everything as we knew R.C.I were gold plated for their shore tours.
So our advice to any cruisers contemplating travelling on Royal Carribbean is organise your shore tours privately before you board the ship, otherwise you will pay very dearly going through the ship shore tours desk.
For a family because of costs, we recommend a cruise line such as Carnival Australia that has on board currency and costs in Australian dollars as R.C.I thinks the average family are millionaires and can afford to pay through the nose for everything, also Carnival is a fun ship, kids will find Explorer of the Seas to be very boring.
My apologies to Royal Carribbean, but your ships have become far too expensive for Australians, you need to review what you charge the passengers and don't charge automatic tips, we removed $400 tips from our account for cabin steward, waiters tip etc, the automatic gratuity and so did many other people we spoke too, you can't afford to pay that for service when on other cruise lines you don't pay that and get the same level of service, it;s just not customary in Australia to pay tips as we pay our workers properly so that they do not rely on tips to survive, it might sound mean but this is the economic reality, you can't afford to pay tips and the other huge costs in USD on these ships, most Australians do not have bottomless pockets and have to live to a budget, even on holidays.
The costs on this ship would be very hard on families with children travelling with them, you must be careful what you spend or the cost will spiral out of control and become astronomical, for example we meet one lady, who used her credit card on her ships seapass account and she ran up charges of $2000 and could not pay it.
We found Explorer of the Seas to be a boring ship, maybe we have done too many cruises in too short a time, but we found this ship to have many boring moments.
The ships decore was nice, the standard cabins are too small and no good for larger people, we had cabin 9337 on deck nine, this was a disabled access cabin, 50 percent bigger than a standard cabin as my wife is large needing a wheelchair at times and a large shower and bathroom, showers in basic cabins are woefully small, made for a bird in my opinion, we were happy with our cabin, it was clean and well appointed, it had "room", basic cabins we call kennels or dog boxes, far too small, having a quad share cabin is not a great idea on this ship in standard basic cabin, you will have no standing room or room to swing a cat.
Some things that marred our cruise, on Day 7 my wife contracted a bad gastro intestinal illness, was treated in the ships sickbay for free ( It is Royal Carribbeans Australia policy to treat passengers with G.I illness for free and they encourage passengers to come to the ships infirmary and be treated than scare people away with high charges so they can spread this thing throughout the ship, containment, control and treatment is a top priority for R.C.I - IT IS A VERY GOOD POLICY ) and confined to our cabin for 24 hours, G.I illness is sometimes unavoidable consequence of being on a cruise ship but the crew to there credit really reminded people to wash there hands, the disinfectant soap dispensers were out, crew made sure everybody washed there hands before entering eating areas on the ship, hand hygiene was well enforced in a friendly way.
Food on this ship was okay, there was sufficient variety in the buffet to keep most people happy and fine dining produced some nice food.
Entertainment was just average, we have seen better, the highlight was the Ice Skating show in Studio B, the on board ice skating rink,this was excellent, talented skaters approaching near Olympic level.
To top it off, 4 days after getting off the ship back in Sydney and getting home, I became really ill and ended up in the hospital for 6 days with acute pneumonia, very sick indeed, could have contracted it anywhere, even in New Zealand, no one knows, can't really blame the ship, but this holiday will go down in infamy as the cruise that made us sick...in all types of holidays there is an element of risk of becoming sick from somebody or from somewhere, it was just bad luck and I copped it and dropped like a fly.
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